Jude Icarus: A "Riot" of a Musician
The myth of Icarus flying too close to the sun is common cautionary tale which warns us not to aim too high. This is evidently not the case for aspiring musician Jude Icarus.
From a young age, Icarus practiced music as a classically trained violinist and electric guitarist. This set a strong foundation as he expanded his sound and began experimenting with producing and rapping in high school. He cites Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up” as a focal influence for what his sound has grown into today. He also notes the song’s impact was not only musical; Icarus hopes his music spreads a message of positivity and hope. In fact, his upcoming album Cloud 9 and the title itself signifies his idealistic and aspirational approach to his music and life.
Just listening to his first single “Riot” makes it clear he is willing to break and bend boundaries while still respecting music theory. The music video for said single depicts Icarus portraying classic rock band archetypes as he plays multiple instruments, raps, and dances. He describes his music as “hip hop informed by other genres”, drawing inspiration from a variety of styles, most notably rock, blues, and funk. Although Icarus just released his debut on October 10, 2018, his work already carries a distinct sound.
Just as unique as his music is his self-awareness. He clearly recognizes how who he is has shaped not only his music, but how he interacts with the world around him. Icarus is of Jewish and Filipino heritage, but admits that people perceive him as a white man. However, he doesn’t allow that to limit his personal identity. His ancestors escaped the Death March during the Holocaust, a hauntingly personal connection to tragedy. Instead of leaving it in the past, he takes it as one reminder to appreciate what he has, and to do his share in creating a better world. His family also raised him to highly value the Jewish idea of “mitzvahs - doing good as an obligation, not as something you get a prize for.” With his family, he partook in weekly mitzvahs at soup kitchens and homeless shelters. When he was only 13 years old he founded Archimedes Alliance, a non-profit built on crowdsourcing to raise money for poverty-fighting charities. Since its conception, the group has raised approximately 45,000 dollars for philanthropy. In addition to the physical contributions, Icarus is sure to mentally give back. He promotes the idea of “social responsibility and awareness” as a crucial part of the human experience, and is aware of how delicate and tumultuous society’s culture is today. His motivations for spreading love can be summed up in one sentence: “it is everybody’s job to do what they can.”
“It’s everybody’s job to do what they can”
Aside from his humanitarian efforts, his background has also impacted his self-expression. His style today is eclectic, and he is clearly comfortable with casting aside gender binaries. He’s been described as “greaser from the year 3000” and he has an eye for standout jackets. The blazar he wore to the interview was from the women’s section, and traces of black makeup framed his eyes from a performance the night before. He notes that it was a personal journey to accept his style, “as it is for most people”, but grew more comfortable thanks to performing onstage. Icons such as David Bowie, Prince, and Elvis are his main style influences, but he also acknowledges that none of this would be possible if not for the positive impact his family has had on him. His parents have been supportive of not only his exterior presentation, but his music and education as well.
As long as Jude continues to support his values through his actions and music, this Icarus will continue to fly close to the sun.